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Trumpeter 1/72 scale Su-30MKK 'Flanker G'

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
Kit:01659 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$39.99
Manufacturer:
Trumpeter, from from Stevens International, 856-435-1555, and from Squadron Products, 877-414-0434
Pros:
Excellent surface detail; wide variety of external stores; overall good fit; separate decal sheets for different areas of the aircraft and missiles
Cons:
Some decals mislabeled or missing; missiles depicted on box not in kit; no parts to position canopy open
Comments:
Injection-molded, 169 parts, decals
FSM-NP0113_26
FSM-WB0413_42
FSM-WB0413_43
FSM-WB0413_44
FSM-WB0413_45
FSM-WB0413_46

It’s tough enough to keep all of the variants of the basic Su-27 “Flanker” straight. The Su-30MKK “Flanker G” adds to the confusion.


Starting from the beginning: the Su-30M is a multirole (M) aircraft based on the two-seater version of the Su-27. The K designates it as an export version, the final K making it specific to China. The Su-30MKK, a long-range strike fighter, is roughly equivalent to the F-15E. As Trumpeter’s latest release in its “Flanker” family, the Su-30MKK is worthy of your modeling consideration.


A sturdy box contains: 13 sprues molded in light gray plastic; four separate decal sheets; an instruction booklet; and two color guides for painting and decaling the aircraft and missiles. All the contents of the box are well protected. Surface detail, finely recessed, is excellent. 


Trumpeter, though, didn’t follow through with the intake foreign object debris screens and the nose-wheel FOD deflector, falling short of the finesse apparent in the rest of the model.


Since the fuselage and wings are molded together and split horizontally, construction flows quickly. I followed the instructions but left off some of the parts so I wouldn’t knock them off or, in the case of parts B14 and B15, so I could insert an old paintbrush handle to facilitate painting. You’ll need some filler around the closed speed brake and windshield, but that’s all. The lower wings leave a step with the ailerons/flaps when mated to their upper sections, so I added shims between the two halves to level them up.


Test-fit the intake trunks and ventral fins to ensure a snug fit. 


I was disappointed Trumpeter didn’t include the necessary pieces to display the canopy open, but there are lots of options for the weapons load — no fewer than five different missiles. Curiously, the Kh-59M anti-ship missile shown on the box art is not one of them.


After a straightforward build, I chose to finish the model in the darker gray scheme of the PLAAF Flight Test and Training Center, which has a few more colorful markings. Paint callouts give options for other major paint manufacturers, but I used Alclad II and Testors Model Master Metalizers for the exhausts.


Be prepared to spend time on the decals, as there are extensive stencils for aircraft, pylons, and missiles. The decals behaved well and responded favorably to setting solution. This time is well spent; the stencils add interest to the plain gray colors. The decals for the dialectic panels on the leading edges of the wings split and frayed on my model, so I touched them up with paint. I combined a 50/50 mix of Gunze Sangyo H-337 and Tamiya XF-24 for a close match.


Trumpeter’s kit builds into an accurate replica of the Su-30MKK, certainly capturing the look of the “Flanker G.” I spent 36 hours on its construction and, though it’s not ideal for a novice, I’d highly recommend it to any other modelers interested in modern aircraft.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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